I had an article ready on driver shoes and glove ready for this week, but NASCAR came out and announced this week that the 2014 NASCAR Hall of Fame would be electing new inductees on May 22. So what I’m going to do this week is discuss each inductee in some detail, and add the 5 who I should be inducted this year, and the 5 that I think will be inducted this year.
Red Byron-One of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers he is the first champion in what is now the Sprint Cup, Red Byron is considered one of the best drivers in the early years of NASCAR. After winning the inaugural NASCAR Modified championship, he took to the inaugural NASCAR Strictly Stock series. Although he only had 2 wins in the 8 races, he took the title.
Richard Childress-The top team in the 1980’s and 1990’s Childress has the distinction of being the first owner to win a race in all 3 of NASCAR’s top series, as well as being the first owner to win a championship in all 3 of NASCAR’s top series. In total, in the top 3 NASCAR series, he has 6 championships and 193 wins.
Jerry Cook-His work in the Wheelin Modified Series speaks for itself, 6 championships, 342 wins, and one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers. He is also known for having a rivalry with Ritchie Evans, who was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame a few years ago.
H. Clay Earles-The founder of Martinsville Speedway, Earles built Martinsville after witnessing the popularity of stock car racing at fairgrounds, feeling that a permanent track would be a profitable venture. Earles also began the tradition of awarding grandfather clocks to race winners, a practice that continues to this day.
Tim Flock-Two time Sprint Cup champion in 1952 and 1955, he hold the record for most poles in a season with 18, highest career winning percentage for a driver with 21%. He is one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers.
Ray Fox-An engine builder who’s engines helped Junior Johnson win the 1960 Daytona 500, and the discovery that drafting at Daytona increases speed, Fox has 14 wins to his team as an owner, with 62 top 5’s 82 top 10’s, and 16 poles over 12 years.
Anne Bledsoe France-Helped build the sport with her husband Bill France Sr, and is the first woman up for induction.
Rick Hendrick-The top owner in NASCAR in the last 20 years, Hendrick has 262 wins in NASCAR’s top 3 Series, as well as 14 championships.
Jack Ingram-A 2-time Nationwide Series champion with 31 wins, Ingram also won the Late Model Sportsman Division in 1972, 1973, and 1974. He is one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers.
Bobby Isaac– 1970 Sprint Cup champion who was well-known for racing the 1970 Dodge Daytona, Isaac has 37 wins, 170 top 10’s and 49 poles over 14 years. Isaac later took the Daytona to the Bonneville Salt Flats and set 28 speed records, many of which still stand. He is one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers.
Dale Jarrett-Son of 2011 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Ned Jarrett, Dale is the 1999 Sprint Cup Champion who also won 3 Daytona 500s and two Brickyard 400’s. He is one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers.
Fred Lorenzen-26 wins to his name, Lorenzen also had a winning streak from 1962 to 1967, won the 1965 Daytona 500, and pulled the Yellow Banana stunt in 1966. He is one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers.
Raymond Parks-When Red Byron won the 1949 Sprint Cup championship, Parks was recognized as the owner of the team, the first team owner to win a Sprint Cup championship.
Benny Parsons-the 1973 Sprint Cup Champion and the 1975 Daytona 500 winner, Parsons also has 21 wins, 283 top 10’s, and 20 poles in his career. He retired from driving and became a respected television announcer. He is one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers.
Maurice Petty-Chief engine builder for Petty Enterprises, and head mechanic for Richard Petty. For most of Richard’s 200 wins, Maurice was working on the cars.
Larry Phillips-Raced from 1961 to 2001, winning the NASCAR Weekly Series Championship in 1989, 1991, 1992, 1995, and 1996, seven NASCAR Weekly Regional championships, and 13 track championships.
Les Richter-An inductee into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Richter was the vice-president of special operations for the International Speedway Corporation, chairman of the board for the International Race of Champions, Senior Vice President of NASCAR, and was working at Auto Club Speedway at the time of his death in 2010.
Glenn “Fireball” Roberts-Won the 1962 Daytona 500, in addition to 32 other races. His death in 1964 helped lead to safer driver uniforms with better fire protections. He is one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers.
T. Wayne Robertson-Employee of RJR who helped promote the NASCAR Winston Cup Series by taking a show car to shopping malls, and other events, with a point standings leader-board.
Wendell Scott-The first African American to win a NASCAR Sprint Cup race, Scott is a true trailblazer, not just in racing, but in sports as well.
Ralph Seagraves-RJR executive who established the sponsorship of the Grand National series in NASCAR by Winston, forming the NASCAR Winston Cup Series in 1972, and would later go on to sponsor the NHRA as well.
Ollen Bruton Smith-Builder of Charlotte Motor Speedway, and founded Speedway Motorsports which helped oversee expansion in NASCAR, Smith was also a promoter who would put on a show for the fans before races.
Curtis Turner-Won 38 races in 4 years in the NASCAR Convertible Division, Turner would later win 17 races in the Sprint Cup Series. Turner holds the distinction of being the only Sprint Cup driver to win two flag-to-flag races back to back, leading a total of 400 laps in the two races in July of 1950. He is one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers.
Joe Weatherly-Won two Sprint Cup Championships, two Modified Championships, with 25 wins, 153 top 10’s, and 18 poles. He is one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers.
Rex White-1960 Sprint Cup Champion, with 28 wins, 163 top 10’s, and 36 poles. He is one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers.
Those are the nominees for the 2014 Hall of Fame class. Picking who I think should be inducted for the 5 spots is difficult. But Wendell Scott is a given, as is Jack Ingram. I would also give a nod to Rick Hendrick and Richard Childress here. And for my final pick, I’m going with Burton Smith.
Who I think will get picked for the hall of fame is much simpler. Any driver who was named in the 50 Greatest Drivers is a safe pick. I would be shocked if Hendrick and Childress don’t get picked. So I think that Wendell Scott, Rick Hendrick, Richard Childress, Bobby Isaac, and Curtis Turner will get the pick.
Two new paint schemes this week
Austin Dillon #51 Realtree/Bruce Lowery Chevy SS That is not what a Realtree sponsored car should look like…This is! It looks too formal for hunting camo and I can’t give it a passing grade here, so it gets an F
Joe Nemechek #87 ATI Gun Stocks Toyota Camry Seriously? What is the stone design on the sides, roof and hood? Is ATI selling stone gun stocks? If the design was only on the door frame, I would be able to stand it, but is just looks bad. Again an F!